Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Joel 3:10
The prophet Joel is reversing what Isaiah once said in 2:4- the more familiar verse that is often stated on greeting cards with Peace on Earth near Christmas. We think of our Lord as a peaceful God, one that wants us to turn the other cheek, who told Peter to put away his sword in the Garden, who wouldn’t fight to defend himself from the cross, and told His disciples after the resurrection “Peace I bring to You.” In fact, we call Christ the Prince of Peace.
You may say, yes but this is New Testament stuff. Joel is an Old Testament prophet. True- but so was Isaiah. How can two prophets of God purposefully give two such obviously opposite images?
I think the answer is because God said to. Ecclesiastes says there is a time for peace and a time for war. Let us never forget that there is a war going on. There is a battle for our souls and those of our loved ones – our children, friends and family members. Yes, we should be at peace: peace in knowing God is there to protect and defend us; peace that passes all understanding through the Spirit, peace in the knowledge and love of Christ.
But we are also warriors of the faith. We are to put on the full armor and wield the sword of the Spirit. When God calls us to fight temptations, the evil one and demonic forces, we must be ready for battle. Our God is worth fighting for, and so is our faith.
There is a time to make plowshares out of swords, and swords out of plowshares. It is all about us remaining pliable- ready to take the form God wants , ready to lay it down or pick it up as our Lord deems. Warriors of the faith waiting for His timing, when He calls out our marching orders. Onward Christian soldiers. In our weakness, He makes us strong.